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The telecom industry has been at the heart of digitization mega trends and is considered a key digitization enabler. The proliferation of digital tools like smartphones and internet services over the last decade has unlocked new customer touch-points. In addition to this, it has also contributed to a shift in the way people consume telecom services, giving rise to digital distribution channels. Voucher Management Systems provide a stepping stone for telecom operators to bridge the gap between evolving subscriber needs and customer value delivery. 

The strategic importance of digitization for telecom operators

The tech-savvy customers today no longer want to deal with the hassle of manual transactions or payment methods. Instead, They want efficiency, swiftness, and responsiveness.

As per GSMA reports, the number of mobile subscribers will increase from 5.2 billion in 2019 to 5.8 billion in 2025, a remarkable 3% increase in the overall penetration rate. The penetration rate for mobile internet users, on the other hand, is more substantial at 12%, from 3.8 billion in 2019 to 5 billion in 2025. These trends are indicative of the fact that digital engagement is rising, especially in the context of finance and commerce. 

digital engagement of subscribers, voucher management system

Considering that digitization is spurred on by the increased adoption of smartphones and internet services, it is no surprise that these trends are largely concentrated in developing regions like India, China, and Latin America. This presents a growth opportunity for telecom operators to unlock the true potential of digital solutions within the distribution network. 

Roadblocks in digitizing operations for telecoms 

While it is important for telecom companies to bank on these growth opportunities for expanding into new revenue streams, it is also imperative that the digital transformation is done at an optimal pace. Maximizing revenue through digitization of business operations or processes comes at the cost of increased OPEX and CAPEX. In order to keep pace with the highly competitive and dynamic environment, telecom companies need to optimize their distribution and logistics costs as well. 

A successful balance between these two success metrics has to be maintained. However, it can be challenging when the mobile subscriber base is expanding and their needs have shifted from the traditional product offerings. As well as in the way those offerings are delivered. Hence, telecom operators need an optimal strategy that allows them to meet customer expectations, keep pace with the market trends, and optimize their costs as well. 

How can telecoms conquer the next efficiency frontier with digital tools?

In response to the pressure from various market forces like evolving customer expectations and high competition, telecoms must reevaluate their logistical processes and operations. This is especially relevant for telecom companies in today’s’ fast-paced environment as they grapple with shrinking profit margins and rising operating costs. Due to this, it is imperative for telecom companies to adopt a data-driven approach and to provide product offerings that are flexible, market-responsive, and user-centric. 

Transitioning from the traditional scratch card system for airtime recharge to electronic vouchers (or eVouchers)  is an obvious choice as it empowers telecom operators to decrease the dependency on the physical means of distribution. Additionally, the digitization of the distribution chain with electronic vouchers would not only reduce costs for telecom operators but also enable them to penetrate previously untapped and unreachable markets. 

How does electronic voucher work?

The voucher management ecosystem comprises of a telecom operator, a distribution network, multiple access points (channels) through which the resellers request and receive a response, a processing system to validate and respond to queries, and lastly, a customer willing and able to purchase the voucher.

The subscribers can easily get their accounts recharged by requesting a reseller to top-up their account through an electronic voucher. Then the reseller can forward this request to the telecom operator via an authorized channel like USSD, web channel, or SMS for the desired voucher denomination. After validation, the system approves the request of the reseller and delivers a code via SMS to the subscriber or pushes a printable voucher to the reseller end where the reseller prints the voucher and presents it to the subscriber. The resellers may use a Wireless POS terminal with a print functionality to download the voucher, print it, and sell it to the subscriber. Alternatively, the subscriber receives a voucher pin code directly on the mobile that they can use to top-up their account.

telecom ecosystem use case, voucher management system

Benefits of Electronic Vouchers

Although eVouchers mimic the behavior of scratch cards, they are a faster, easier, and cost-effective means of airtime recharge. The entire process of printing, distribution, and storage of scratch cards is replaced by digital voucher generation and voucher distribution. As opposed to traditional scratch cards, the telecom operator has no need to print and distribute the vouchers, instead, the resellers are able to print these vouchers or provide a code to the subscriber (as per the demand from the subscribers). Distribution of vouchers is done electronically thus eliminating the associated costs. With this method, telecom operators can provide topup or airtime recharge to subscribers using these vouchers with a simple and hassle-free process.

Apart from cost-efficiency, eVouchers also empower the service providers to have enhanced control over their distribution chains with the digital voucher management system. The Voucher Management System ensures complete control over the end-to-end distribution of vouchers to resellers and provides an unparalleled user experience. It provides on-ground availability of convenient mobile recharge and payment mechanisms supporting a wide range of channels.

With this approach, telecoms have greater visibility into the activities of resellers and can trace the inventory levels at any point. A key benefit is that it allows for value recharge for end-users anytime anywhere! Through digital distribution, the process of delivering services to the subscribers is flexible and convenient for both the operator and its resellers. It equips the telecom operator to have real-time control over the flow of value and to sell pre-generated vouchers through their network of resellers. In an effort to maximize the value of promotional campaigns, telecoms can also deliver real-time bonuses and commissions to resellers. 

benefits of digital voucher management system

From the customer/subscriber’s perspective, they have greater flexibility in terms of recharge denominations that cater to their preferential needs. This feature is commonly referred to as Voucher-on-Demand. This convenience of buying the exact amount that they want, whenever they want is more likely to increase loyalty and eventually enhances brand loyalty among the subscribers.

Electronic vouchers, which form an integral part of the Voucher Management System must be introduced and adopted by service providers like telecom operators. To help them transition their subscribers to digital, convenient, and less costly methods of buying products like airtime. 

More so, the telecom operators can enhance their process and operational efficiencies as their entire eVoucher distribution process is managed and executed digitally and instantly. It allows telecom operators to establish, manage, and maintain a consolidated network of electronic payments and revolutionize the way their products are delivered to the market.

Author Mahwish Ilyas

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